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UC’s newly refurbished gym inaugurated

WE ARE BACK. Some 12 years after winning the National Cheerdancing Championship the University of the Cordilleras dance and cheerleading team is back. The 2023 iteration team performing the inauguration of the newly refurbished gymnasium Friday. PML

More than 1200 students and school officials witnessed Friday the inauguration of the newly refurbished University  of the Cordilleras which just celebrated its 77th year.

After 18 years, UC implemented another major renovation of the gym that saw its transformion from a bleak facility into a brighter and more spacious one.

UC athletic director Danilo Cong-o said that renovation of the gym was made in 1998 but only in 2005 was when the floor was converted into the best in Baguio and even the envy of other schools.

“Photographers complained of the lighting in the past. Their pictures are dark, now you can see it is bright here now,” said Cong-o during his speech.

Cong-o then acknowledged UC administration in providing fans and higher ceiling “that not only provide air but natural lighting,” said Cong-o standing on the newly tweaked logo, the Jaguars.

Cong-o said that the gym has a new sound system, two led walls and the refurbished floorings.

The cost, Cong-o said, is PhP28 million, from the original PhP15 million.

The gym was witness to the former Baguio Colleges Foundation Shields which ruled the 1995 inter-college basketball competitions, when it was bleak but always filled with adoring fans that drown any other teams including the dynastic and rival University of Baguio Cardinals.

It’s transition in the early 2000s saw the rise of the UC  volleyball teams that dominated the sport in the first decade of the millenium including a two-trepeat for the Lady Jaguars.

It was actually during this time, under the late former athletic  director Pedro Mendoza when the BCF Shields became the UC Jaguars right after the school achieved its university status.

The home of two Bar topnotchers then adopted a no hard sole policy in entering the gym which was implemented by the late Mendoza, who almost single handedly transformed the Philippine volleyball scene into its present state, to the dot.

Mendoza was the main force behind the National Inter-Collegiate Volleyball Tournament, now the Pedro Mendoza Cup, where UC’s female team barged into the finals in two occasions.

“Only rubber shoes are allowed inside the gym now,” said Cong-o, reiterating what his mentor wanted for the gym.

UC board chair Rey Dean Salvosa said “what you saw is the administration’s commitment to provide what is best for our students.”

This week saw also UC groundbreak its Libertad campus at Hamada Road in Lourdes which will become a 10 storey edifice to house its primary and secondary students as well as the colleges of education and criminology.

He said that an engineering team that evaluated the 67 year old building said it would require PhP22 million to retrofit it but it will not guarantee its safety since buildings can only have a 50 year life span to assure its safety.

So they decided to demolish the “first UC built and spend PhP700 million to build this new campus, the biggest expenditure the school ever made.”

The week saw also the return of the UC dance and  cheerleading team which won the national championship in 2011.

The re-established squad under coach and school creative director Peejay Natiola  also performed during Friday’s inauguration wowing the crowd and bringing Natiola to near tears as he remembered the winning years of his former dance-cheerleading squad. In fact, the 2010 and 2011 iteration of his former team finished in the top 3.

Construction started in 2021 when Covid 19 protocol was relaxed. Pigeon Lobien

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